April 8, 2009
Mississippi University for Women is asking the Cirlot Agency to vet a new potential name for the university.
Months ago, the MUW Naming Committee narrowed a list of more than 1,000 suggested names to three -- Reneau University, Welty-Reneau University and Waverley University.
The Cirlot Agency, the corporate communication firm contracted to conduct research on the names, during a March 24 presentation to the Naming Committee, revealed that Waverley University (43 percent) came out as a slight overall favorite over Reneau University (33 percent) and Welty-Reneau University (24 percent).
A significant number of study participants said that they did not like the hyphenated name Welty-Reneau; they preferred Welty University as a stand-alone name.
Additionally, because Reneau was a part of two name choices, Waverley may have been a default choice for those who did not like the Reneau name. Conversely, for those who preferred the Reneau name, there were two options; thus, the Reneau preferences may have been split.
After The Cirlot Agency''s presentation, several committee members suggested Welty be researched as a stand-alone name. Several other committee members were opposed to the idea of researching names in addition to those chosen by the committee.
The university has asked The Cirlot Agency to conduct additional research -- another round of online polls and discussion sessions with focus groups of high school seniors -- regarding the name choices Reneau University, Waverley University and Welty University.
In September of last year, a group of about 30 MUW alums, faculty, staff and community members was charged by Dr. Claudia Limbert to present a list of three names to replace the school''s current name. The goal was to better market the university, which has admitted men since 1982.
In stating her support for additional research, MUW President Claudia Limbert said, "The information gathered in the original opinion survey is invaluable and will be carefully considered. As we look to the university''s future, we know that doing this right is more important than doing this quickly.
The Cirlot Agency''s additional research will yield important information as this process continues. All the information gathered during the MUW 20/20 process related to the name and the university''s brand development, as well as The Cirlot Agency''s research, will be available to the Leadership Committee as it evaluates the evidence and makes its recommendation to me."
The Leadership Committee is suggesting one name to Limbert to recommend to the state Institutions of Higher Learning board and, if approved by IHL, the state Legislature.